The Worms series is pretty iconic in a way, being one of the few games to combine turn based strategy, team oriented gameplay, and Monty Python all in a single package. It's hard to tell how they got away with it, but they have, and the series has been chugging along ever since. Not without criticism of course. Since the first generation of Worms games, many have come down on the developers for a lack of creativity, or variety, in the recent additions. Enter the modern day, where Worms Reloaded has come out on Steam and people are turning a scrutinizing eye once again to see if the series is worth investing in.
Let me begin this review by saying that anyone who has never played a Worms game before has been missing out. It's a classic game and one that's most certainly been resurrected with Worms Reloaded. It still captures the very essence of the original series: silly, mindless fun. Mechanically the game is completely unchanged, so anyone remotely familiar with the series should be able to jump right in. Worms are broken into teams of four and are given a wide array of weaponry to kill the enemy worm teams with. Players are still able to name, and customize their individual teams however they like.
Once a match starts all players' worms are randomly tossed on a map, and the turn-based combat begins. The maps still maintain being one of the more hilarious parts of the game, ranging from large castles to wacky pictures. Weapons are still just as silly as they used to be, and all the classics remain intact. Banana bombs, super sheep, and the concrete donkey are still there for players to bring loads of misfortune upon enemy worms and the environment. New weapons are also featured in the game, which should brighten things up for veteran players as well. Unfortunately for Worms Reloaded this is where things begin to taper off, depending completely on ones experience with the series.
Though the campaign mode has a decent amount of length to it, and multiplayer comes with its own joys. However, anyone really familiar with the series may find themselves disappointed. Not much has changed. Anyone looking for a massive slew of differences in gameplay, level design, or game modes should probably look elsewhere. This doesn't particularly hurt the game in the long run, the multiplayer is still fun and the single player campaign is surprisingly enjoyable, but it does beg to ask what the developers have been doing all this time. In fact, many of the quirky custom options that I found memorable are missing from the game.
Why are there only four worms, instead of eight like Worms Armageddon had? Whatever happened to customizing a special weapon? For every silly single option such as custom hat, or default fort, it's hard not to wonder whatever happened to the more meaningful gameplay selections.
Anyone new to the series really won't notice these differences, but considering how long this series has been around it's strange that they would be left out. Understandably, Worms Reloaded is really a updated PC version of the console Worms 2 Armageddon, but wouldn't that mean that the team would have time to add a little bit more to the title?
It's a little confusing, a little disappointing, but ultimately these minor differences don't detract from the games value too much. They just make it feel like it's missing something. Fortunately, everything else is spot on. Visually the game looks very nice, giving a bright and colourful world to players who'll have no other intention but to destroy it and every opponent on it. Sound wise the game can only really be criticized for its constant stream of worm-chatter, which can get pretty repetitive depending on how long a game lasts. They could have done with a few more wacky quotes, but there are enough voice options in the game to mix it up.
On the multiplayer front, there are also no real complaints. The standard five game modes should be more than enough to satisfy the average player, though the game also features its signature map-creator and custom game modes for extra fun. It's a title that really benefits from having more and more players involved, particularly close friends who you've always wanted to throw a barn animal at. Playing with strangers can be just as fun too, though getting matched up with someone who's not entirely sure how to play can be a semi-frustrating experience.
Ultimately Worms Reloaded doesn't stray even remotely away from the formula that made the games before it a success, and it doesn't really add anything from Worms 2 Armageddon either. As a result, suggesting it to anyone can be a little difficult. Anyone who's never touched the series before should do themselves a favour and check it out. Anyone looking for something new, different, and original from the IP may find themselves at a loss. No matter which way you look at it, Worms Reloaded is a lot of fun, and successfully captures the spirit of what made the original title such a blast.